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The UK’s corporate summer events forecast

UK's-corporate-summer-events-forecast

The season of summer is fast approaching, and it’s bringing a new events season with it. Joah Freeman, a journalism student and intern at PA Life, spoke to hospitality venues across the UK to find out more about the trends for the UK’s corporate summer events forecast…

Ascot-Racecourse

Ascot Racecourse

Spokesperson on behalf or Ascot Racecourses commented, “This summer is on course for a record year at Ascot. As demand grows significantly for corporate hospitality packages and raceday fine dining experiences, we’re finding that enquiries are coming in earlier and booking lead times are getting longer.

Following Royal Ascot in June 2023, we saw a monumental lift in enquiries and bookings for the following year. This indicates how important it is to deliver an exceptional experience, particularly when you have big annual events. Royal Enclosure restaurants seem to be more popular than ever this year with Thursday – Gold Cup Day – already extremely close to a sellout. We are also witnessing a growing willingness to spend more per head for high-end and exclusive dining experiences. This indicates a desire for a real sense of occasion and premium products.

Outside of racedays we’re seeing a substantial shift away from the more traditional DDR model, towards more bespoke corporate summer events, escaping the bricks and mortar and expanding out across our vast 170-acre estate for greater breadth of space, flexibility, and choice.”

Center-Parcs-Woburn-Forest- UK's-corporate-summer-events-forecast

Center Parcs Conferences & Events

Julia Green, Head of Corporate Events at Center Parcs Conferences & Events, “A bigger focus on ‘experiential’ is storming the events industry, moving further and further away from the ‘stuffy’ conferences of the past. Today, businesses demand more genuinely immersive, stimulating experience that leave attendees feeling refreshed rather than drained.

“The booming wellness craze shows no signs of slowing down. Businesses are continuously looking for new and creative ways of embracing health and fitness in their event planning. Corporate events are becoming extension of ‘office life’ and company culture. This shows in increasingly extravagant activities like reflexology, ‘forest bathing’, yoga and meditation can take place and be added to the roster of employee perks.

“Blurring the line between outdoors and indoors remains a hugely sought-after aesthetic for event planners. We receive requests for indoor plant hires and event florists soaring around the summer months in particular. More generally, nature-rich spaces and open-air activities which harness the healing benefits of the great outdoors will be high on everyone’s list of priorities from March onwards.

“This summer, we’re also anticipating high demand for vegetarian and vegan-friendly catering options spike, as businesses prioritise health and sustainability more than ever before. Enhancing our sustainability offering remains a key priority for us at Center Parcs Conferences & Events this year again, and our ambition is to develop more “mindful meetings” packages this year– making clean corporate events slick and stress-free for our clients.”

The-Bowls-Club-London-summer-events

The Bowls Club

William Goy, Co-founder of the Bowls Club, “We predict that 2024 will see a continued rise in the popularity of competitive socialising activities, specifically within the corporate market. While people are going back to the office, hybrid and remote working is still very intrinsic for many businesses and finding ways to connect employees has become even more important. We expect to see a range of different event types within the corporate sphere too, including large-scale summer parties, inter-department socials and client entertainment packages becoming key. Businesses that are able to offer their high-value clients a unique experience will be much more likely to retain them for longer. 

For The Bowls Club, the biggest focus and trend that we’ll be embracing in 2024 is the attainment of the very best food and drinks partners in the industry. People are looking for much more than just a stand-alone activity – they want numerous points of entertainment and engagement in one central place. With such a large foodie market in London, bringing in the best-in-class brands as Food Partners and Drinks Partners for TBC is vital to help us bring a premium experience to every single visitor. The goal here is to add value to our package-based customers while also drawing in on-the-day walk-ins with the allure of good food, drinks and entertainment.”

Church-House-Westminster-net-zero-carbon-target

Church House

Vedrana Dancerelle, Head of Operations at Church House, Westminster comments: “At Church House, Westminster, we forecast that Summer corporate events in 2024 will embrace a blend of virtual and hybrid formats, leveraging advanced technology for seamless networking and engagement. We are also seeing a strong emphasis on sustainability, and eco-friendly practices, offering attendees refreshing experiences while minimizing environmental impact. Flexible scheduling and diverse activities catering to wellness, featuring the use of venues with outdoor space, (such as Dean’s Yard at Church House), are sure to further enhance attendee satisfaction, fostering a dynamic and inclusive atmosphere conducive to productivity and innovation.”

Cameron-House-summer-events-forecast

Cameron House

Dawn Baring, Director of Revenue at Cameron House commented, “As we head into the summer, the resort is seeing a higher volume of large conferences for buyouts, alongside bookings for smaller meetings with a much shorter lead in time. We have also seen a shift for group bookings wanting to reserve and dine in one of our restaurants rather than dinner in a banqueting space, as more groups are after a restaurant experience.”

“Creating a unique experience is key in events and at Cameron House, this is an area we cater for very well and can curate tailored experiences for guests and organisers to book. For example, we’ve previously hosted a Great British Bake Off experience in a marquee on the grounds, and offer a huge range of activities to create a memorable meeting/event at the hotel. We also have great partnerships with external partners so that the events we are hosting can include a relaxed dining experience, activities across the resort that the resort offer and also additional external activities that include things like the sea plane or 4×4 car rides.”

“We are seeing an increasing number of delegates mixing business and leisure (popular in medium size groups). To cater for this, our venue offers the ideal blend of work and play, with the hotel/lodges available for overnight stays, with access to all the facilities e.g. spa / golf / activities. Accessibility is also important and as the resort is close to key destinations and airports like Glasgow and Edinburgh, we can provide a great meeting spot for companies, especially businesses with international clients/employees, which means Cameron House to target a more diverse mix of business with more requests coming in from Europe (Spain, France etc).”

 

We are pleased to have outstanding venues such as these in our Recommended Suppliers directory.